01.30.17

Leahy Announces He Will OPPOSE Sessions Nomination For A.G.

“I have serious doubts that Senator Sessions would be an independent Attorney General.”

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a former chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced on Monday his opposition to the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to be the next Attorney General of the United States.

“The Attorney General must faithfully serve all Americans.  After carefully reviewing Senator Sessions’ extensive record, I am not convinced that he meets that threshold standard.  So I must oppose this nomination,” Leahy said. 

Sessions’ nomination has raised significant concerns from civil rights organizations, the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, faith leaders, and many others.  His “insultingly incomplete responses” to the Judiciary Committee drew criticism from the New York Times, and the Washington Post editorial board called on Sessions to recuse himself from Justice Department investigations of Russia’s hacking. 

Last week, Leahy sent to Sessions additional written questions about his views on the Violence Against Women Act, anti-Muslim extremist groups, Russia’s interference with the presidential election, ethics concerns with the new Trump administration.  Leahy also specifically asked Sessions about his role in the drafting of President Trump’s executive orders to militarize the southern border and ban refugees from entering the country.  Sessions has failed to respond to these questions.

“I have serious doubts that Senator Sessions would be an independent Attorney General.  There have been months of media coverage about President Trump’s many conflicts of interest and the constitutional concerns they present.   Yet Senator Sessions evaded questions on this topic by claiming that he has ‘not studied the issue.’  He has failed to provide answers to many of my written questions, including questions regarding his involvement in the drafting of the anti-Muslim executive order that has already disrupted lives and our national security,” Leahy said.

He concluded: “Now, more than ever, we need an independent Attorney General—one who is committed to standing up for the constitutional and statutory rights of the disenfranchised.  Unfortunately I do not believe this describes Senator Sessions.  For these reasons, I am not confident that Senator Sessions would be an Attorney General for all Americans.  I must oppose this nomination.”

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